University of Oulu

Re-defining the concepts of waste and waste management : evolving the Theory of Waste Management

Saved in:
Author: Pongrácz, Eva1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Process and Environmental Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2002
Publish Date: 2002-09-25
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kajaaninsali (Auditorium L 6), Linnanmaa, on September 25th, 2002, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Markus Olin
Professor Paul S. Phillips


In an attempt to construct a new agenda for waste management, this thesis explores the importance of the definition of waste and its impact on waste management, and the role of ownership in waste management. It is recognised that present legal waste definitions are ambiguous and do not really give an insight into the concept of waste. Moreover, despite its explicit wish of waste prevention, when according to present legislation a thing is assigned the label of a waste, it is going to be treated like waste, implicitly legislation thus amasses waste. The philosophical ramifications inherent in such definitions mean that they are not capable of constructing a system that, by its very nature, results in a sustainable waste management system. It is also a fact that, while there are numerous practices as to how to deal with a particular type of waste, there is no theory of waste management. In this thesis, waste as a concept is analysed from the point of view of why and when waste is created. Using the PSSP language, waste is classified based on the Purpose and Performance attributes. New, dynamic definitions for waste and waste management are offered, which explain why waste is created and intrinsically offer a solution to how the problem could be solved. Additional waste-related concepts are introduced, which are thought to have great potential for improvement on waste regulation. The concept of ownership is explained as rights and responsibilities of waste creators/owners: it is thus crucial to raising awareness about waste. Ownership in itself often dictates which waste management options are preferentially adopted by a given community. The role of legislation in producing monitoring systems for the transfer of ownership as well as abandonment of ownership is analysed. To avoid obstacles to resource conservation due to materials being considered waste, a definition for non-waste is introduced. The new agenda for waste management thus focuses upon the development of more appropriate, sustainable definitions so that what is now commonly perceived as being waste will in fact be increasingly seen as resource-rich, 'non-waste'. The role of waste management is explained as control of all waste-related activities, with the aim of preventing, minimising or utilising waste. The need for a theory of waste management is explained, and the first building blocks of the theory are proposed. This thesis is offered as the first step toward scientification of waste management.

see all

Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 951-42-6821-0
ISBN Print: 951-42-6820-2
Issue: 173
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2002. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.